In the 1990s, World War III has finally ended. People are left to pick up the pieces and rebuild their civilizations. However, vicious gangs that prey on these defenseless citizens are obstructing the reconstruction.
Wade, Boris and Kyle, three vigilantes who protect the fearing and helpless in what's left of Straker City, have their biggest opposition with "The Geld Gang", a criminal organization that has commissioned every type of lowlife imaginable in the city: hobos, punks with mohawks, lead-pipe swinging punks with even bigger mohawks, martial artists, deranged obese men wielding spiked clubs, bomb-throwing bums, chain-wielding metalheads, leather-clad dominatrices, and tall thugs clad in leather garments covered with spikes, along with a vast repertoire of other bizarre freaks.
One day, when the trio was patrolling the streets, they see their friend Sheena waving at them as she walks across the street holding a bag of groceries. Suddenly, Red Fredy, Lord Geld's right-hand man, appears from nowhere on his chopper and snatches her away. The three brave men must now travel all through the city to save Sheena from Lord Geld's evil grips.
Violent Storm is played much like any other beat 'em up, although its pacing is noticeably faster than most games in the genre. Up to three players can join in to play the game simultaneously at any time, selecting between the three available heroes, with Wade being the most balanced overall, Boris being slower but more powerful, and Kyle being the most agile of the trio although the weakest. Likewise, each character has their own particular fighting style, with Wade being more of a street brawler, Boris fashioning a wrestling style, and Kyle using martial arts.
The player also counts with a 'desperate move' that is performed by pressing both ATTACK and JUMP buttons simultaneously, which results in the character performing a powerful twirling attack that will knock down all nearby enemies, although at the cost of some of the player's health.
Only Boris is capable of lifting any type of enemy above the ground to either throw or piledrive them into a location of the player's choosing. If Wade or Kyle attempt a regular throw on a heavy enemy or boss, however, the player must press the ATTACK button repeatedly or the foe will free himself and flatten them instead.
The objective of the game is to guide the heroes across seven different stages, which start from the outskirts of the city, passing through various locations such as downtown, the city's industrial area and the port, until reaching uptown, where Lord Geld's criminal headquarters is located under the guise of a luxurious museum, and where he keeps hostage all of the city's kidnapped girls, holding Sheena as his most prized possession.
In addition to its fast pace, the game is also notable for its abundance of bonus items, which can be uncovered by destroying the vast number of random environmental objects that are encountered along the way, such as crates, barrels, oil drums, garbage cans, benches, plant pots, vases, bicycles, chairs, tables and statues, just to name a few. Unlike most games of the genre, health-replenishing items (including living animals, such as pigs) can be found aplenty to compensate for the fast pacing and high enemy count of the game, which can also be found by destroying the many environmental items scattered throughout the levels.
Enemies may sometimes come armed with pipes, knives, chains, fiery grenades, and other types of weapons. Some can be disarmed after hitting them once, although their weapons won't remain for the player to use themselves. Nevertheless, weapons such as pipes and knives can randomly be found by destroying environmental objects, which allow the player to inflict increased damage, have a longer reach and also knock enemies down with a single hit. However, a weapon will be lost if hit by an enemy.
- Wade: A blond street brawler whose specialty is the uppercut. He wears a complete blue suit with protecting pads on its shoulders, knees and forelegs. He is the most balanced character of the group, having medium strength, speed and reach. A bit self-centered, though, judging by his obsession of frequently combing his neatly cared hairdo.
- Boris: A tall musclebound wearing a black tank top, orange lifting shorts with suspenders, and for some reason bringing sunglasses to a brawl. He's the most powerful of the trio and, unlike his two other partners, he is the only one who can lift and throw heavy enemies without fear of being flattened. While he has the lowest reach and speed, he counts with many powerful grabbing techniques to compensate. In addition, he is the only character capable of hitting fallen enemies with a pipe.
- Kyle: The most agile member of the group. He wears a green vest without anything underneath, and black pants. His techniques mostly employ kicks and other diverse martial arts. He is the weakest member of the group, although he's also the fastest and the one who has the longest reach.
- Sheena: A beautiful young girl who is trying to live as close to a normal life as possible among the ruins of Straker City. She is best friends with Wade, Boris and Kyle.
- Red Fredy: A motorcycle riding freak who has green skin, long fingernails in the shape of claws, blond spiky hair, and a perpetual grin which all in conjunction somewhat give him the appearance of an evil goblin. He kidnaps Sheena at the beginning of the game while riding on his chopper and constantly taunts the heroes throughout the course of the game. He is Lord Geld's right-hand man.
- Geld: The criminal mastermind who is behind all the gang related activities that have been happening in Straker City. While the city remains in ruins, he lives a lavish life in a luxurious museum uptown which serves as his base of operations. He ordered the kidnapping of several girls in the city, with Sheena being his most recent and prized possession. While in his normal state he doesn't look any different than his subordinate hobos –other than having a sickly-looking purple skin– he can transform into a powerful and tall musclehead with great combat skills and who can project his inner energy as a form of attack.
|7||Museum: Last Duel||Red Fredy|
- Violent Storm has often been praised for its soundtrack, which for the most part features catchy tunes with a deliberate 1980s sounding style and whose some of its tracks even feature lyrics, something not commonly heard in games from its era.
- The Stage 1 music was copied from the song "Shakedown" by Bob Seger, known as the theme song from the movie Beverley Hills Cop 2.
- A collectible TwinBee toy (from the TwinBee series) can rarely be found as a bonus item after destroying one of the many random objects in the game. Picking it up is worth 5,000 points.
- The mechanical exoskeleton that Doyle, the boss of the Industrial Area, uses is probably a reference to the P-5000 Powered Work Loader that Ellen Ripley used to fight the Alien Queen in the 1986 science fiction-horror film Aliens. Konami developed and published the arcade machine of this film in 1990, and likewise, in the game the Power Loader appears as a rare power-up that Ripley (the player character) can make use of.
- Sledge, the boss of the Port Town stage, is a nod to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a multimedia franchise which Konami has developed and published many games over the years. He wears a cooking wok as a chest armor –emulating a turtle's shell– and holds another using it as a shield, and wears a bandana all over his head, much like the mutant turtles from the series do.
- Near the end of the game, two Konami arcade machines can be seen in the background: Scramble and "Penta". Although no arcade game exists under this latter name, that could be a hint to either Balloon Penta, Tsurikko Penta or Imo Hori Penta, released around the same year, or a reference to Penta, a penguin character from the Antarctic Adventure and Parodius series.
- Like Gaiapolis, Mystic Warriors and Metamorphic Force, all which were released in 1993, Violent Storm remains an arcade exclusive that has never been adapted for home consoles.